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Old 09-27-2011, 08:34 AM   #1
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Route suggestions

We are planning a family trip next May from Ontario to California over a month. I am starting to look at each day and plan where to stay, things to do, etc. The first part of our trip is really about driving all day, because we don't have a lot of time. Both my husband and I drive our class A equally.

It is these days that I am working on now and would appreciate any information on routes, places to stay or quick sights to see along the way (we have 3 kids):

day 2: Windsor Ontario to around Terre Haute, IN (~400 miles + border crossing). Where should be stay in the Terre Haute area, or a little west of there if we make good time? Any recommendations?

day 3 Terre Haute to Joplin, MO. (~440 miles).

day 4 Joplin to east of Amarillo (~475 miles)

day 5 Amarillo to the Petrified Forest NP area (~480 miles)

day 6 Petrified Forest to Grand Canyon (~200 miles - meeting family there so want to arrive early or spend time near Petrified Forest before heading out).

Thank you!

Mom and Pop to 3 kidlets,
Enjoying our travels in our 2012 Phaeton 40QKH
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:08 AM   #2
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Wow! Back to back days driving over 400 miles. Do you realize that you will be driving 8 - 9 hours each day plus stops for fuel, lunch, potty breaks, etc. Those are long days and you will be beat by the end of the week. You won't be able to stop and see any sights along the way and your kids will be going crazy. You will be a lot better off if you shorten the days or at least insert a day off after every 2 or 3 days of driving.

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Old 09-27-2011, 09:55 AM   #3
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Thanks for your reply. We do realize that's how these days will go. As soon as these days are over we are staying in one place for 3-4 days each several times over the following two weeks. We figure these days will have us on the road for about 10 hours. As long as we stop by 6 we will be ok. If the day doesn't go as planned, or we are all crabby, we can stop earlier, no biggie.

We have often travelled straight for 3 days with the kids, and they do ok. I am a very creative mom and pack treat bags, loot bags, interesting food, movies, games and stuff to keep the kids interesting and not complaining. We also stop and get exercise at rest stops, then bribe them with treats! My mom also travels with us so she is good at making food and drinks and keeping us all sweet. We also try to stay at places that have pools so while I am getting dinner ready and things organized, DH is with the kids sitting in a lounger, while the kids work off some energy.

Recently we had a RV fire that totally disabled us at the side of the road after traveling for 8 hours in a 100 degree day. When it happened we felt like we were just getting into our travel groove and had another 3 hours to go. Kids weren't crabby, everyone pulled together, and the kids were bathed and in fresh jammies in a hotel, with full bellies, and asleep by 9pm. We can pull together to survive just about anything and are *very* organized.

Our longest day of driving pulling a trailer was 13 hours. We weren't great after that much traveling, and thought we were ok until we had to backup the trailer into a tight street, in the dark, in Salem, MA. More recently we drove 20 hours straight with our oldest (from Alabama to Ontario). So we know what we are getting into, but thanks!
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:40 AM   #4
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Sounds like a fun trip but you're certainly not taking the most scenic route.

When you get to the Petrified Forrest/Grand Canyon region you might want to stop off at the Meteor Crater between Winslow and the Grand Canyon. It's pretty impressive and just 6 miles off of I40. There's a CG there too.

Good luck

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

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Old 09-27-2011, 10:48 AM   #5
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Cant' be of help on the first ones, but the two listed below we have used. Hopee you enjoy the trip.

5. Amarillo Ranch RV Park
Amarillo RV Ranch - Home

We've staye there a couple of times over the years

6. Petrified Forest to Grand Canyon
Holbrook / Petrified Forest KOA | Camping in Arizona | KOA Campgrounds
We stayed at the Holbrook/ Petrified Forest KOA in Holbrook, AZ this past June. Nice park
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:03 AM   #6
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Just an observation ... we have made this trip (similar) three times now ... once including the Grand Canyon which necessitates I-40, the other two times doing everything possible to avoid I-40! Now, things may have changed on I-40 in the last several years, and I'm sure others will chip in with their comments, but, when we used it we surely wished we hadn't and it did slow us down allot. Watch out for winds too, especially in Oklahoma. You're driving a Phaeton with the (380?) - are you towing? You'll be spending a fair amount of time tackling some pretty steep and long grades on this trip which can be challenging, especially if you're towing? You may not cover as much ground on a daily basis as you think, at least not in what most might consider a reasonable "driving day"? Dependng on how busy it is you can get bottled up at the Canyon itself, especially if you're actually camping there? We preferred to stay in Alberquerqe and use the toad to explore right up to Santa Fe then camped up near the Canyon and, again, used the toad to go to the actual attraction itself - glad we did. Safety is a concern and long driving days combined with mountain ranges don't always contribute positively? It's a great tour you have planned but, with six kids of our own and not living too far from you, I think it might be a bit "ambitious"; maybe add at least an extra full driving day on each end of the trip? Have fun, be safe and smell the roadses! Groannnn
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:35 AM   #7
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Just ran I-40 from TN to Albequerque (how doooo you spell that?) Much of the road beat the devil out of us. OK City was the worst chunk. Be prepared as sometimes it is just unavoidable.

I second Meteor Crater. Well worth the stop. Like the Grand Canyon you just don't really get the ennormity of it till you stand on the rim. Great experience for kids. (of all ages)

Safe travels!
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:49 AM   #8
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First...whew!! I'm tired just reading about the long days.

Check out the reviews on this park in Amarillo. Outstanding park.

Amarillo RV Parks - RV Oasis - RV Resort - Home
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Old 09-27-2011, 05:13 PM   #9
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by terapin-bear View Post
day 2: Windsor Ontario to around Terre Haute, IN (~400 miles + border crossing). Where should be stay in the Terre Haute area, or a little west of there if we make good time? Any recommendations?
I know this area like the back of my hand and I would highly recommend that you not stop in Terre Haute, but rather head just another 100km west to Effingham, IL. Here you'll find the junction of two major US interstates; I-70 and I-57 which provide access to 4 major truck stops.

Effingham is a small town in the middle of US farm country, but they have a very nice campground for your 1-night stay; Camp Lakewood with lots of trees and views of the lake. If you don't want to cook that evening, rest assured you can find a really good home cooked meal to enjoy. I would highly recommend Niemerg's Steak House, followed by a stop for the best ice cream you'll ever have at Homewood Grill. In the morning, Joe Sippers Cafe brews really good coffee and makes good coffee drinks as you head out of town. If you prefer chains instead, then I would recommend Cracker Barrel for dinner, Culvers for ice-cream, and Starbucks for your coffee.

Hope this has been helpful. Have a great trip! The Grand Canyon is unbelievable.
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:34 PM   #11
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If my memory is correct you can not get a 40' MH in any campground in Petrified Forest NP closes RV park is a KOA in Holbrook AZ.
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Old 10-02-2011, 09:16 PM   #12
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Sounds like a great trip. You are sure to enjoy it.
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Old 10-16-2011, 01:20 PM   #13
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I second the stay at Camp Lakewood! We will be there next weekend for one night. The owners are just super and the place is CLEAN!
In Joplin MO. we stay at the KOA-easy on and off I-44, and right next to a fuel stop. Possibly we may stay at the Downstream Casino this year at Exit 1 of I-44, just before the OK line. It is free for 3 days with your players card. They have wonderful meals in the buffet. Don't think kids can go in.(its not really free for us, cause we walked thru the door)!!! The slots are calling to us!
Have a great trip also way to much driving for us for one day. Dona
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:13 PM   #14
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In my opinion, I would skip the Petrified Forest and add Death Valley and Yosemite.

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